The past decade has not been kind to migrants. The events of 9/11 added extra hurdles to immigration process as immigration authorities’ paranoia grew. Western countries’ hospitality is much colder as xenophobia increased fuelled by right wing political groups such as the Tea Party in the USA, the Front National in France or the Conservatives in Canada and the UK. In Canada, since the election of the conservative government of Prime Minister Harper, we have adopted a series of reforms in immigration and refugee law. The focused is now on so called “desirable” migrants, usually people with education and language proficiencies in English or French. Inadmissibility rules continue to prohibit family from reuniting, disabled and sick migrants from settling, and otherwise qualified migrants with tenuous link to alleged terrorist groups from immigrating. Parliament adopted the so called Balanced Refugee Reform Act in 2010 making it harder for refugees to seek protection in Canada. Additionally, Refugees’ access to health care was cut by the federal government. Many of those changes are being or will be challenged in court. Whether these challenges will succeed is hard to predict as the Supreme Court has tended to be deferential towards the government on immigration and refugee issues. Two cases handed down in the last two months may shed some light on what the future holds for refugee and immigration law.
I was thinking about writing a blog on Bill C-10, the omnibus criminal law bill of the conservative subtly named Safe Streets and Communities Act (I don’t know why, but it doesn’t make me feel safer at all…). However, with my schedule it is sometimes hard to read all the material and draft a post. Thankfully, I came across what Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, said in the House of Commons, and I thought it summarized what I thought perfectly and in an eloquent manner. So here is the 2 minutes she got in the House (she was the last one to speak) as the debate was cut short by a radical and usually last resort parliamentary procedure on September 28, 2011.